The Punisher

I have fetched the tears up out of the little wells,
Scooped them up with small, iron words,
Dripping over the runnels.

The harsh, cold wind of my words drove on, and still
I watched the tears on the guilty cheek of the boys
Glitter and spill.

Cringing Pity, and Love, white-handed, came
Hovering about the Judgment which stood in my eyes,
Whirling a flame.

. . . . . . .

The tears are dry, and the cheeks’ young fruits are fresh
With laughter, and clear the exonerated eyes, since pain
Beat through the flesh.

The Angel of Judgment has departed again to the Nearness.
Desolate I am as a church whose lights are put out.
And night enters in drearness.

The fire rose up in the bush and blazed apace,
The thorn-leaves crackled and twisted and sweated in anguish;
Then God left the place.

Like a flower that the frost has hugged and let go, my head
Is heavy, and my heart beats slowly, laboriously,
My strength is shed.

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The Punisher